No. 21 Ole Miss (12-5-3) battled all night in a topsy, turvy match against No. 10 Tennessee (17-2) on Thursday, dropping a thrilling 3-2 match in the semifinals of the 2021 SEC Tournament.
With a stiff wind at their back, the Rebels were relegated to hunkering down on defense in the first half. After weathering a few chances, Ole Miss failed to deal with a ball in the box and paid the price as Jaida Thomas poked home a rebound to grab the lead.
From there, it was survival mode for the Rebels and Tennessee racked up 12 shots in the opening 45 minutes. However, Ole Miss hung on, keeping the deficit to a single goal going into the break.
Looking to bounce back with the wind its favor, Ole Miss immediately equalized as UT was called for handling inside the box. Channing Foster stepped up to the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way, scoring the equalizer just 16 seconds into the second half.
A few minutes later, Haleigh Stackpole had a look at the lead from the top of the box. The senior hit the ball well but it was too close to UT keeper Lindsey Romig, who made the catch.
Tennessee began to regain momentum as the half wore on and in the 70th minute, Thomas struck again, squeezing a shot inside the near post to push Tennessee back ahead 2-1.
The Rebels stayed in the fight and in the 76th minute, scored again to lock the score back up at two goals apiece. Stackpole’s corner delivery went all the way through and Mo O’Connor rifled a ball across the face of goal, finding Saydie Holland, who punched it in for her first goal of the season.
Unfortunately, heartbreak struck as Tennessee regained the lead on an own goal in the 86th minute, ending the Rebels’ run in Orange Beach.
Ole Miss now awaits the NCAA Soccer Tournament Selection Show on Monday at 3:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics